This is going up a little later than anticipated but it’s time for July’s Small Business Spotlight! Last month I featured Ripple, and this month I’m featuring Kintsugi Clothing. If you’re unfamiliar with the SBS the brief rundown is this… I feature one small business every month, for free, because I’m passionate about shopping small and boosting the local economy.
Kintsugi is an inclusive clothing brand designed with disabilities in mind. There are things which I, as an able-bodied person, don’t take into account in fashion. Things such as “how easy is this to put on/take off?” Buttons can be especially difficult for those with dexterity issues. This is something which would never cross my mind.
Although designed with specific goals in mind, Kintsugi can be worn by anyone. They’re available in UK sizes 8-20 and are produced by Bryden Apparel in Singapore. Bryden are GOTS and OKEO-TEX certified – which means their products are organic and safe.
When buying for functionality, you often sacrifice on design. Kintsugi are marrying the two together. All their designs have a timeless style, offering a versatile range of looks. They’re the definition of comfy casual.
Named after Samantha Renke, this blue blouse fastens with a magnet. It can be paired with trousers or a skirt, and is perfect for a day to night transition look. I’d call this an “elevated basic” piece. It stands out, but can also be worn as part of an everyday look. Kintsugi also state that it can be paired well with both black and blue pieces.
With an elasticated waistband and velcro fastening, this skirt couldn’t be easier to take on/off. “Kintsugi” is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold lacquer. This crackled-effect print reflects that beautifully. It also has a built-in pocket, eliminating the need for a catheter leg bag. The tube can even be pulled through the lining. In fact, this skirt was specifically designed for women with indwelling catheters!
The lovely Emma, founder of Kintsugi, agreed to answer a few questions.
Kintsugi is an inclusive clothing line, that designs and creates on-trend apparel with disabled women in mind. I was inspired to set up the company after seeing a Ted Talk by the disability fashion stylist Stephanie Thomas. In it, she reveals that there are more clothing lines designed for dogs than disabled people!
I was stunned by this information, given that there are 13.3m disabled people in the UK alone.
I started talking to people across the disabled community, asking them what they wished fashion designers would consider when creating clothes. Feedback included higher trousers with higher backs, less fiddly fastenings (buttons are a particular dexterity challenge) and clothing that allowed people to easily access ostomy and catheter bags.
With this information, I started developing the first collection of clothing.
The best part of running Kintsugi has been, undoubtedly, the people I’ve gotten to know along the way. There is a small group of people I have only met online, but who have supported Kintsugi (and me) since the early days. I chat to them pretty regularly and count them all as friends.
Kintsugi has been trading online since February 2019 – so not long! It took a year to research and develop the first collection.
Absolutely! I’m pushing ahead with adding new items to the collection and expanding our size range. I’m then planning to create a menswear collection – hopefully within the next year or so.
I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for tips & tricks on living sustainably.